Rashid Rover
Rashid Rover’s core scientific mission is to better understand how lunar dust and rocks vary across the moon Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: On the eve of the historic launch of the Rashid Rover to the Moon, a short film titled ‘Rashid to the Moon’ will be screened on Saturday, December 10, at the ongoing ‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert festival’ at Dubai’s Al Marmoom desert area.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) tweeted on Friday that the six-minute “short film will be screened for the very first time, hours before the launch of the first Emirati mission to the Lunar surface on Sunday, December 11.”

Launch on Sunday

Rashid Rover is currently safely stored inside the Japanese-made lunar lander Hakuto-R M1 (mission 1), which will be carried to space by the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, USA will be streamed live by MBRSC on Sunday, December 11. The rocket launch was revised thrice - on November 28, 30 and December 1 - following final checks and unfavourable weather conditions.

Viewers can visit MBRSC channel to watch mission briefings from the first Emirates Lunar Mission (ELM) and catch all the action from the launch complex — culminating in the actual lift-off at 11.38am (UAE time).

April landing

Once launched, the integrated spacecraft Hakuto-R M1 that will carry Rashid Rover and other payload to the Moon will take a low-energy route to the Moon rather than a direct approach. This means the landing on the Moon will take about five months after launch, in April 2023.

According to MBRSC, Rahid Rover will land on Atlas Crater, located at 47.5°N, 44.4°E on the moon’s southeastern outer edge of Mare Frigoris (Sea of Cold). Atlas Crater has a diameter of 88km that was formed between 3.2 to 3.8 billion years ago.

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Rover mission

Rashid Rover will study the characteristics of lunar soil, the petrography (composition and properties of lunar rocks) and geology of the Moon. It will also take photos of the moon’s dust movement, surface plasma conditions, and the lunar regolith (blanket of superficial deposits covering solid rocks). It will help scientists better understand how lunar dust and rocks vary across the Moon, and provide fresh data for the development of new technologies that can be used to unravel the origins of the Earth and our solar system.

The success of the first Emirates Lunar Mission (ELM) will make the UAE the first Arab country and among the first countries in the world to land a spacecraft on the Moon, after the United States, former Soviet Union and China.

Next lunar missions

Rashid Rover is just the first of the UAE’s multiple missions to the Moon. A couple of months ago, in September, MBRSC signed an agreement with China National Space Administration (CNSA) to kickstart joint space projects and future lunar exploration, including sending the next UAE rover aboard Chang’e 7, a robotic Chinese lunar exploration mission expected to be launched in 2026 to target the Moon’s south pole.